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Minneapolis Community and Technical College - Revel

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REVEL educator study examines student performance and engagement at Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Key Findings

  • Average REVEL scores increased significantly when REVEL was required for a greater percentage of the overall course grade.
  • Pop quiz average scores also increased when REVEL was required for a greater percentage of the overall course grade.
  • There was a very strong correlation between REVEL Module Quiz and REVEL Chapter Quiz scores.

Setting

Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) is a public, two-year college located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. MCTC enrolls nearly 15,000 credit students annually and is an active partner in initiatives designed to strengthen the social, economic, and cultural vitality of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

MCTC is one of 31 colleges and universities in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and offers more than 150 associate’s degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Many MCTC programs transfer students to four-year colleges, while others prepare students for challenging careers. MCTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges. The MCTC student population includes 26 percent first-generation college students and 61 percent of students identifying as minorities. Sixty-six percent of MCTC students receive financial aid.

About the Course

Introduction to Music (MUSC 1000) provides an overview for anyone who appreciates music and wants a better understanding of musical styles. Students learn techniques for listening to and describing music through investigation of musical elements and exploration of the influence of musical context. Students study significant musical compositions from the Western European art tradition, as well as music from the world’s cultures, and music that has originated in or had significant influence on music in the United States—in part to help contextualize new and unfamiliar forms, and in part to help sharpen listening skills. Students practice these skills through discussion, listening, reading, and writing. The course is taught in a hybrid format with one 75-minute class meeting per week and the remainder of the course activities taking place online.

Challenges and Goals

In 2013, instructor Elizabeth Pauly redesigned the Introduction to Music course and implemented a hybrid course format. By implementing the hybrid course, she aimed to increase the amount of time spent in class on learning activities that expanded upon what students could read in the textbook and ultimately enhance their understanding of the topics covered. She hoped the ability to focus on deeper learning activities in class would lead to improved student performance on assignments and increased pass rates in the course.

Implementation

Pauly initially began the process of flipping the classroom by implementing MyMusicLab. However, in Spring 2015, she decided to move to REVEL because she believed REVEL features offered better navigation, a more streamlined approach, and enhanced mobile capabilities for a better learning experience for students. She also liked the embedded videos and Listening Guides, along with the ease of assigning content.

When Pauly first implemented REVEL in Spring 2015, REVEL activities were assigned as extra credit. Students had the option of completing the REVEL Module Quizzes for up to a 10 percent bonus to their overall grade, depending on the number of quizzes on which they earned an 80 percent or better. Pauly included a sliding scale on the syllabus detailing the bonus percentage awarded for each number of successfully completed quizzes.

In Fall 2015, Pauly significantly increased REVEL’s contribution to the overall course grade in order to incentivise students to complete the REVEL assignments and come to class prepared. REVEL Module Quizzes accounted for 45 percent and REVEL Chapter Quizzes for 10 percent of the overall course grade. Pauly wanted her course to focus more on learning than on assessment, which is why the REVEL Module Quizzes were worth more points than the REVEL Chapter Quizzes. Pauly used the Module Quizzes as formative assessments, allowing three attempts on each REVEL Module Quiz with points deducted after each incorrect attempt. Only one attempt was allowed on REVEL Chapter Quizzes. Pauly made additional slight adjustments to the syllabus in Spring 2016 with REVEL assignments counting toward 35 percent of the total course grade and REVEL Chapter Quizzes contributing 15 percent toward the total final course grade.

In addition to the REVEL quizzes, in-class pop quizzes were also given weekly. The pop quizzes generally used the REVEL quiz questions designed to measure listening skills embedded in the assigned reading for the week from REVEL Listen to This, but occasionally included questions from discussions or lecture material from class to reinforce listening skills. In-class activities consisted of a variety of learning projects, many involving group work. In-class work products were graded on a pass/fail basis. Pauly required a few additional assignments outside of class on the Desire2Learn learning management system aimed to either connect with work that was done in class or assist in the process of creating the final Share Your Music project. The final Share Your Music project included a five-minute presentation and a four- to six-page paper.

Pauly used the REVEL Performance Dashboard for early intervention with students who were falling behind or struggling in the course. She checked the Performance Dashboard to identify students who were earning low scores on REVEL assignments or not completing the assignments, and she connected with those students after class or sent an email message.

Assessments

Fall 2015

  • 45% REVEL Module readings and Module Quizzes
  • 15% Final Share Your Music paper and presentation
  • 10% In-class activities
  • 10% Outside-of-class assignments (excluding REVEL)
  • 10% REVEL Chapter Quizzes
  • 10% Pop quizzes

Spring 2016

  • 35% REVEL Module readings and Module Quizzes
  • 15% Final Share Your Music paper and presentation
  • 15% In-class activities
  • 15% REVEL Chapter Quizzes
  • 10% Outside-of-class assignments (excluding REVEL)
  • 10% Pop quizzes

Results and Data

It should be noted that results from Spring 2015 may have been affected by a substitute instructor teaching a large portion of the term. The course syllabus, assignments, and assessments remained constant, but instruction was delivered by an instructor who substituted for Pauly.

The overall average REVEL score was 37 percentage points higher in Fall 2015 (REVEL accounted for 55 percent of total course grade) and 21 percentage points higher in Spring 2016 (REVEL accounted for 50 percent of total final grade) than in Spring 2015 when REVEL was assigned for extra credit only (figure 1). T-tests, which measure whether the means of two groups which are statistically different, were used to compare the overall average REVEL scores between Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 and Spring 2015 and Spring 2016. Results of the t-tests show that students in Fall 2015 (mean = 66 percent) earned higher average REVEL scores than students in Spring 2015 (mean = 29 percent), where t(77) = 5.46 and p<0.05, indicating that this increase was statistically significant (table 1), and students in Spring 2016 (mean = 50 percent) earned higher average REVEL scores than students in Spring 2015 (mean = 29 percent), where t(82) = 3.10 and p<0.05, indicating that this increase was also statistically significant (table 2).

Pop quiz scores were also higher when REVEL was required for a greater percentage of the overall grade. Average pop quiz scores were 12 percentage points higher in Fall 2015 (51 percent) than Spring 2015 (39 percent) and 21 percentage points higher in Spring 2016 (60 percent) than Spring 2015 (39 percent) (figure 1).

Pauly assigned the REVEL Module Quizzes as formative assessments with multiple attempts and REVEL Chapter Quizzes as higher-stakes summative assessments with only one attempt. Figures 2 and 3 are correlation graphs; correlations do not imply causation but instead measure the strength of a relationship between two variables, where r is the correlation coefficient. The closer the r value is to 1.0, the stronger the correlation. The corresponding p-value measures the statistical significance/strength of this evidence (the correlation), where a p-value <.01 shows the existence of a positive correlation between these two variables:

  • A very strong positive correlation exists between average scores on REVEL Module Quizzes and average scores on REVEL Chapter Quizzes in Fall 2015, where r=.91 and p<.001
  • A very strong positive correlation exists between average scores on REVEL Module Quizzes and average scores on REVEL Chapter Quizzes in Spring 2016, where r=.97 and p<.001.

To read more: REVEL educator study examines student performance and engagement at Minneapolis Community and Technical College

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